Menu
Gmail's 'unsubscribe' tool comes out of the weeds

Gmail's 'unsubscribe' tool comes out of the weeds

An 'unsubscribe' link would appear prominently at the header of some emails

Gmail users who get frustrated trying to find the "unsubscribe" link that's often buried in small type at the bottom of promotional emails may instead start seeing it before they even open the message.

Starting this week, a new, clearly marked "unsubscribe" link will appear at the top of the header field in marketers' emails. Previously only appearing for a small percentage of users, the feature will now be made available for most promotional messages with unsubscribe options, Google said on Thursday. Email recipients do not need to take action for the links to appear.

The change simply makes it easier to find the "unsubscribe" link. With the new setup, the link appears prominently at the top of the message, alongside the name and email address of the person or company sending it. So what used to be like searching for a needle in a haystack will, for some, become more like an open invitation to say good-bye. By clicking the link, users can opt out of a company's emails without leaving Gmail.

Though the tool might seem useful to consumers, it could be a business killer for companies looking to grow their customers online. But Google is actually releasing it to help businesses become more transparent and to prevent their promotional emails from being marked as spam.

"One of the biggest problems with the Gmail spam filter is identifying unwanted mail or soft spam," said Google's Vijay Eranti, who heads anti-abuse efforts at Gmail. The issue, he said, is that sometimes customers opt into a company's send-to list but later decide they don't want the emails. And if they can't find the unsubscribe button, sometimes they mark the message as spam.

When they report the message as spam, that sends a signal to Google. If enough people report the messages as spam, Google's system may classify the sender a spammer. In the long run, that could cause delivery problems for all of the company's emails.

"We want to empower users with an easy way to control what they want to receive," Eranti said. The tool was announced in front of an audience of email marketing professionals at an industry conference in San Francisco held by M3AAWG, an anti-abuse messaging group.

Google is trying to strike the right balance to keep ordinary Gmail users happy without alienating business users. "We want our users to not have spam, and we also want you to reach the user," Elie Bursztein, who leads Google's anti-abuse research, told conference attendees.

To help email marketers see whether other groups were using their systems to spam customers, Google also said Thursday that it was piloting a new reporting, or feedback loop, program. Companies must comply with Google's bulk sender guidelines to be eligible for the pilot.

The unsubscribe button is one of a series of Gmail "quick action buttons" introduced for use in emails. Some of those shortcuts include tools for changing restaurant reservations, launching Google Docs files and responding to event invitations.

Google made another big move to filter the Gmail inbox last year, separating emails into different inboxes for categories such as Social and Promotions. Users can opt out of that organization method.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags advertisingInternet-based applications and servicesGoogleMailinternetsearch engines

Featured

Slideshows

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2015 and 2016 inductees - Darryl Swann, Dave Rosenberg, Gary Bigwood, Keith Watson, Mike Hill and Scott Green - to the inaugural Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed how the channel can collectively work together to benefit New Zealand, the Kiwi skills shortage and the future of the industry. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Reseller News launches inaugural Hall of Fame lunch
Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Show Comments